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tv   Asia Insight  PBS  May 25, 2016 6:30pm-7:01pm PDT

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♪ ♪ the economic gap in south korea is becoming a serious issue. over their lifetimes, employees of smaller enterprises reportedly earned only half of those working for the major firms.
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with four major companies comprising 60% of south korea's gpd, a person's success in life is determined by the size of the firm they work for. new graduates as well as continuing job seekers are applying for major firms, heating up competition. only one out of more than 700 applicants will be accepted by the very top firms. abandoned generation has become a buzz word, referring to young people who had to give up something important because they couldn't land jobs. desperation radio, an online radio program that began in august of 2015 has become the talk of the town.
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>> yong became a social activist two years ago. she started the radio program to discuss the flight of young people. >> during the program, deejays read outleters from young people about their frustrations with society and their life in poverty. the program offers no criticism or advice. she said the most important goal of the program is to convey reality and raise awareness of their problems.
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>> young people who fail to attain stable work cannot achieve their life goals and are unable to aspire to a better future. only more competition awaits them in society. this episode follows young south koreans doing everything they can to survive.
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>> park came back to south korea last year after studying abroad, which had been her childhood dream. despite applying to 40 firms, she has only been interviewed by eight. >> at several interviews, she's received the same shocking comment.
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>> most young people take their resume photo at a full-fledged studio. the shoot costs $70. job hunting costs at least $2500 per year. intensive courses and certification cost the same amount as two month's salary at a small enterprise. as in her case, many firms do not accept certifications obtained overseas.
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>> several days later, she learned she didn't advance from the interview. the unemployment rate for young people stood at 12.5% in february of 2016. that's the worst figure since 1999, wen a new statistical method was employed. chong is an economist and professor ameritas at seoul national university. he served as prime minister in 2009.
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>> because the south korean economy depends on major firms and conglomerates, young people continue to seek such jobs at firms. >> nam just graduated from
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university. he's concentrating his job hunting efforts on major firms. on this day, he got together with peers who were also aiming for similar jobs. all the conversation was related to job hunting. >> can they really land jobs at major firms? these young job seekers know they face unfavorable odds. but with success on the line, they can't give up.
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♪ ♪
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>> kim is the first son in a family that runs a package manufacturing business. he grew up bearing the family's
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expectations on his shoulders. his life began going astray in the summer of his senior year. he suddenly lost the ability to read. he says it was a psychological disorder caused by stress. after that, he got into college but soon dropped out. his parts got divorced, and now he lives alone while working part time. he makes $5 an hour at his part-time job. that means no matter how hard he works, he can only pay for rent, food, and counseling.
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>> in south korea, male citizens must complete mandatory military service by the age of 30. this is a difficult prospect, who has little control over his life. he lives in an apartment behind a shopping district. the bathroom and kitchen are shared. each bedroom is about five square meters. rent is $230 a month. there are a few apartments that are cheaper or smaller.
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he says he can only think about surviving each day. >> interviews are the final stages of the job hunting process. that's why the prestigious kyung
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hee university offers special courses to prepare for that. on this day, students practiced interviewing each other. any student or graduate of the university can participate in this course. ♪
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>> he once worked at a small firm, but he quit two years ago and began job hunting again.
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>> yung hun has never stopped living with his parents. his two older sisters live here, as well. his father, who is 62 years old, still works night shifts as a security guard. and his mother works part-time at a supermarket.
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his sisters also work at companies. he had been contributing to the family finances until he quit his job. he also depends on his parents to pay for all his job hunting costs. now two years into his path to re-employment, he says his family has begun avoid talking about his job hunting efforts.
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>> father and son spend the afternoons like this every day. they hardly ever talk. the his father says he keeps quiet to avoid pressuring his son. he writes resumes to reassure his father. he's sent resumes to more than 100 companies in two years.
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>> he will turn 30 next year and says if he can't land a prestigious job before then, he will find a new path to happiness while working at an ordinary job. yung, who vocalizes young people's voices on desperation radio, has decided to run for public office. >> the listeners who want to build their own futures are supporting her.
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>> this abandoned generation of young south koreans has had no choice but to give up on their streams amidst a widening economic gap. the ideals that they had envisioned while studying hard for the entrance exams are crumbling before their eyes. but in order to survive each day, they continue to sacrifice and work hard in hopes of creating a bright future for themselves. ♪
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welcome to nhk "newsline." we're bringing you continuing coverage from the international media center. abe is getting ready to kick off the summit. he sat down for a one-on-one meeting with u.s. president barack obama. the leaders discussed global concerns such as the economy and terrorism. abe also raised an issue. he said he lost a protest with obama on the

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